Welcome my friends and fellow Viners to another segment of...
Today we shall tackle another video game related controversy in larger detail which I covered up in my Assassin's Creed Unity preview blog and I promised I would do an separate one in time.
If you may recall my Assassin's Creed Unity preview blog, I addressed about the lack of female characters in Co-Op in which I criticized Ubisoft's reasoning in technical details. Likewise, another Ubisoft upcoming title Far Cry 4 caught some flak as well for the lack of female characters in multiplayer (although not compared to the alleged "racism" in that game). Both games were to feature playable females at some point but they were scrapped in the last minute in order to not exceed their own costs, which just screams "We don't want to do any work".
I won't dwell too much on Ubisoft 's bullsh&t I already did that in my other blog and I won't further beat that horse like everyone did, besides it certainly was not the first company to being accused of sexism when last year, Rockstar had three male POVs on Grand Theft Auto V and no female one (although you could be an female in Multiplayer at least that). And when you get down to it, it's more of product of laziness than actual misogyny, since the Co-Op characters are pretty much the same one, instead of their own independent entities (which bothers me to no end). At the same time, the side-effect is something that come across as sexism, as they didn't bother to explore different POVs, including that of women. There is an unspoken and disturbing tendency for several publishers to avoid having playable female characters under any cost. 2013's Remember Me was such game, whose developer Jean-Max Morris, lamented the fact he had fight with tooth and nail to have Nilin as the main protagonist with her own life and a relationship with an male character. As he recounts what people had told him:
“We had some [prospective publishers] that said, ‘Well, we don’t want to publish it because that’s not going to succeed. You can’t have a female character in games. It has to be a male character, simple as that.’ …We wanted to be able to tease on Nilin’s private life, and that means for instance, at one point, we wanted a scene where she was kissing a guy,” Morris said. “We had people tell us, ‘You can’t make a dude like the player kiss another dude in the game, that’s going to feel awkward.’ I’m like, ‘If you think like that, there’s no way the medium’s going to mature.’ There’s a level of immersion that you need to be at, but it’s not like your sexual orientation is being questioned by playing a game. I don’t know, that’s extremely weird to me.”
Sadly, despite Morris' best efforts, the game didn't sold very well and was slammed by the Metacritic reviewers. Regardless of the games' success or not, these people' sexist and homophobic remarks shows how much this industry is still backwards. Executives seem to think that nobody really wants to see females outside of supporting roles, because their target audiences "can't see themselves" in character that is not like them. Which is always there has being a prevalence of monochromatic gun-bros, white generic American males with one-dimensional personalities so that their players can easily put themselves as them.
There is absolutely no denying that there are great and memorable video game heroines such as Lara Croft, Samus Aran, Jill Valentine, Bayonetta, Amateratsu and so forth. Unfortunately, its also an sad truth that games with leading ladies don't make much profit for whatever reason, even ones that already become popular. Look no further than the already mentioned Bayonetta, an much loved beat 'em up/hack 'n slash game that had its own following, and if it had only managed to live up to its financial expectations, theny maybe today, its sequel wouldn't have to become an WiiU exclusive and be available for everybody. Believe it or not, the 2013's Tomb Raider reboot was this close to being an financial bomb, despite being a success among critics and fans, Square Enix reported that the game still failed to met their expectations (though, non e was the story or Lara Croft's fault, but rather the bloated budget into making a new engine and unnecessary features such as multiplayer). Thankfully, the reboot's popularity manage to secure an future with an upcoming sequel in the makings.
Even so if the most popular female icons are having trouble keeping up, then I weep for the newcomers. You'd think that in this male-dominated industry which the most prevalent belief that sex sells, they would cash in on the third-person seductresses, you know the impossibly curvy and busty heroines, implausibly and impractically dressed, trying to cash in the sex appeal as much as possible (as an old saying goes "If I might stare to an ass all day, it might be an sexy one"). . I mean, does anyone remember BloodRayne, Red Ninja: End of Honor, X-Blades/Blades of Time, Bullet Witch being that much of a success? It seems like doesn't matter if they are realistic, objectified and idealized, the AAA industry simply doesn't care about females. PERIOD.
One possible reasoning behind this mentality is that majority of these games in recent years that happened to have playable females, such as Metroid: Other M, Amy and Final Fantasy XIII, were panned by both critics and audience. Somehow, companies perceived this as "players don't like playing with girls" rather than the actual games' questionable quality. Those games didn't suck because there were female protagonists in it, they sucked because they really f*cking sucked. Though the prevalence of males has always being a thing, even with the recent rising of female gamers and despite their claims to appeal to an wider audience, we all know they just want the same audience they always had, only in bigger number. Why you think that focus groups of 12-year old boys are still used to this day? Who the f*ck cares for what guys like Morris had to say about we maturing as an form of art? (The last bit was sarcasm...)
It's an very serious issue and one too complex to come up with an answer how to solve it. This is certainly not an exclusive problem to video games, as superhero movie aren't so different and has a long story of failures and mess ups to their history. I find really amusing that while several companies had being struggling or outright neglected having heroines in their games, over the course of two years Nintendo, which every armchair analyst has being saying to be with one feet in the grave, managed to have playable women in every single one of the games they released. Not to mention the upcoming release of Bayonetta 2 and Hyrule Warriors, the former bringing back the eponymous popular lady from the previous generation and the latter having a huge female cast - Sure, Link is still the hero like he always is but, hell, look at how many girls, ladies and babes the roster has (Zelda, Impa and Midna being among the playable characters just to name a few) they even managed to have an female villain in the story (something unusual for Legend of Zelda games). And they all managed to do that with much less money and resources than Ubisoft. Ooh I guess somebody' ass got schooled.
Thank you guys for reading it. I hope you enjoyed this blog and I'd like to hear how you feel about this effect in gaming. Did you notice that before or is it the first time you hear about it. I'd like to share your own opinions in the comment section. See ya next time =P
For those interested into the further subject, I recommend watching Jim Sterling's opinion, from the Escapist fame, on it.
It's not every time an Viner reachs 20.000 posts, so just like I did with my 10K Post Review, I'd like to celebrate this special occasion with a more... unusual subject (for a lack of a better term). But before we dig into our subject, let's talk about Brazilian television for a moment.
Outside of exported movies, shows and animated cartoons that are aired in Brazil, a few years back, native television was pretty dull in my humble opinion; between their sh**ty reality shows, soccer matches, sappy soap-operas among other stuff, compared to other program I grew up with that were foreign in nature, those seem pretty stale. Thankfully in recent years Brazilian TV has being getting a lot more varied, but no matter what I may feel, soap-operas in particular (or as they are called telenovelas) play an important part of not just television networks, but of our culture as well, rivaling the likes of Mexican soap operas. Though they offered different settings and themes for each soap-opera, they are noted had cliched plots and characters to the point they were interchangeable between other series. With that said, some of these were absolute smash hitters, in particular the ones from the 9PM time slot, and audience points go through the roof.
Back in 2002, I was 10 years old, Brazil won the World Cup against Germany (something which would haunt us many years later .___.), Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was elected President and the show Big Brother was at its peak. Despite all that, Globo's telenovelas weren't doing so well for whatever reason. Their most successful ones were starting to lose fuel, while many of their didn't live up to network's expectations. Unfortunately one of them was Beijo do Vampiro, which is Portuguese for "Vampire's Kiss" written by Antonia Calmon which aired in the 7PM time slot and ran from August 2002 to May 2003 - an rather unusual type of soap opera that delved into the supernatural, instead of exploring more common themes like everyday lives or hammy, over-the-top family dramas.
We begin our story in the XII Century, where the beautiful Princess Cecilia is meant to marry Count Rogerio, her one true love. Unfortunately, their union is ruined with the coming of Boris Vladescu, the Supreme Vampire that covets the princess for himself and intends to make her his bride. He desires to generate a son and heir - the most powerful vampire in existence that will carrying on his legacy. After having her family and beloved slaughtered by Boris and refusing to accept her terrible fate of carrying his spawn, Cecilia decides she'd prefer be dead than damned and throws herself from an high tower before his eyes.
Turns out this is was an horror tale narrated by our hero Zeca, an vampire-obsessed teenager that is telling to his little brother and sister during modern times. After scaring the crap out of his sibilings he is scolded by his parents Livia and Roberto who assures their kids that vampires are not real. They are unaware that Boris is actually quite real and has being secretly watching over them for two reasons: 1. Livia is actually Cecilia's reincarnation from the past (as well as Roberto being Rogerio's) and after 800 years, he still desires her 2. And Zeca is not really their son... He is actually Boris'. You see in the past, he married an female vampire called Mina de Montmatre, but she was unable to give any birth to the child he wanted. So he had a fling with an human woman gave birth to their son Atilla (Zeca's original name) but she died during childbirth. To protect his son from Mina's ire, Boris discovered Livia and Roberto had a son of their own, which he switched with his, leaving him to be raised as their child and left their true son in an orphanage.
Boris arranges for Roberto to die during an airplane crash and get rid of the competition for Livia's affection. This very act puts the family in deep sh*t since as they are now severely indebted and forced to move on from their house and live with Livia's mother Zoroastra in the fictional town of Maramores with Boris not too far away, trying to ensure Zeca will embrace his role as his heir, with his vampire nature awakening when he comes of age. Other vampires are also gathering to the town, among them Mina and Boris' lieutenant Victor Vitorio, who have their own secret agendas which will shake Maramores down a lot and change forever Zeca and his family's lives.
If anything else, the colorful cast is what made the show. Let's start with our protagonists; Zeca is an hero in a more traditional sense, he is kind, devoted to his family, willing to protect his loved ones and unlike so many vampire protagonists, he wasn't whiny about his undead condition nor considered himself cursed for most of the time. Quite the contrary, he once used his powers to drive off some bullies that were harassing his younger brother, the only thing he loathed was his father but over the course of the series, he learns to respect and eventually forgive him. On the other hand, he can come across as an Marty Stu in the eyes of some viewers - he is more powerful than vampires older than he is (including his dad, who is pretty much king of all vampires) he can pull some inexplicable powers, such as making Mina grow old, suffers almost none of the typical weaknesses such as sunlight and after getting into Heaven's good graces, is allowed to stay within holy ground.
Boris in the other hand is more a more complex character, serving as both the villain protagonist (he gets a huge amount of POV) and the main antagonist (75% of the terrible things happening in the plot were result of his actions, directly or not). He still displayed some redeeming qualities such as genuine love for his son and wants to ensure he will embrace his legacy because the vampire race is dwindling and he wants to prevent that from happening by any cost.
There were plenty of other fun characters like the clumsy vampire hunter Galileo Van Burger, who belongs to a family who tried to kill Boris in the past, but his ancestor died due to an heart attack, while confronting the Supreme Vampire. He is driven to destroy Boris and Mina, specially the latter after she turned his own son into a vampire (albeit he is still living with his dad and seems fine with his condition). Despite his own incompetence, he is pretty likable and manages to do some outstanding feats by sheer accident such as killing off Count facking Dracula.
Oh yeah, I forgot Dracula makes an very brief appearence being held as king of all vampires, which is confusing since I believed Boris was (consistency was never this show's strength). He is staked by accident by Galileo, who is actually targetting another vampire and his death actually kicks off a major development in the plot, since Boris' vampire enemies seek Dracula's magical ring to use it against him. Ironically, Galileo's original target was an pretty much a grunt in the vampire hierarchy.
And how could I not mention about the ladies. Hot, cute and beautiful ladies everywhere!!! Livia (played by Flavia Alessandra) is pretty smoking hot, no wonder she has so many men flocking . Among the vampires, we have Mina, Lara and even Marta Morta, as well as Pandora, Mina's dhampyr daughter. And those are just the ones that come to mind, there is absolutely no shortage of beautiful ladies in this story.
Probably the most divisive thing in the show was an character introduced near the end, Nosferatu the Terrible, Boris' vampire rival that aimed to take his place as Supreme Vampire and take Dracula's ring for himself. While the performance displayed by his actor Ney Latorraca was hilarious, he was only meant to be an guest appearance/comic relief until the writers decided, he would become an regular character and eventually the main villain through the final weeks. (possibly because Boris was going to soft to be anymore villainous). His new role seemed a bit shoehorned in, since he has no back story, no genuine motivation and he only appears to hijack Boris's position, not helped that he felt more like an buffoon with an overblown sense of himself that never gets to show how much of an legit threat he is.
Oh yeah, we also learn what happened to Livia's true son Renato, is introduced much later as an street urchin and is reunited with his family. Yeah, whatever...
These vampires are classical as you can possibly get: they have sharp fangs, red/green/golden eyes (t varies from vampire to vampire), can turn into bats, hypnotize people, are vulnerable to crosses, garlic, stakes, holy artifacts, sleep in coffins and etc. As a plus, they were also able to perform magic powers such as teleportation, telekinisis, pyrokinisis and among others. But make no mistake, these are family-friendly vampires so don't expect too much blood from their feedings or anything like that. In fact, they don't need blood to survive, they can drink if they feel like it and can eat normal food. These vampires are also capable of having children themselves (though its noted that their birth rates are extremely low and they will soon die out). Curiously, if you manage to kill an vampire sire, all of the vampires they turned (as well as their subsequent progeny) will go back to normal... This raises so many questions about incosistency, but I am afraid won't go too deep into them out to not derail my own review.
Vampires were not the only supernatural creatures to be featured; Zoroastra was an witch, Princess Cecilia appears as some sort of ghost advisor to Livia and saving her at some points, Angels and God's presence feature heavily and Archangel Ezequiel serves more or less the same role as Castiel in Supernatural. He is the overall leader of the good guys and looking after the heroes' safety, helping them out in their moment of need and unlike most angels in fiction portrayed as self-righteous douches, he is actually nice and protective of Zeca despite his nature as an vampire, going as far as to allow him to pass through holy places. Puzzlingly, despite posed as Boris' opposite and being, you know a f*cking angel, Ezequiel gets his ass kicked by Boris whenever he tries to confront him in combat.
As far as acting goes... What did you expect about an soap-opera, specially one about vampires? Though to its credit, there were some really great actors like Tarcisio Meira (who is pretty much legendary) and Claudia Raia as Boris and Mina de Montmartre and whenever the situation needed, they could play characters seriously. Yet, they know what kind of show this is and they will ham it up to the hundreth degree, shouting "MALDIÇÃO" (DAMNATION in English) and chewing the scenery as much as they drink blood. Special effects are, well, they look really sh*t just like PS1 graphics, but I am willing to cut it some slack since for an Brazilian telenovela, the production value looked great. The soundtrack was pretty great with some expertly selected songs such as the opening theme and Vater User from E Nomine.
Though the series turned out to be pretty popular among the younger crowd, it didn't do so well with adult audiences and was absolutely blasted by professional critics. Still, it won some awards, made some actors themselves stars and it has an cult following to this day. I may had loved the hell out of it as a kid and nowadays I do find it so silly and campy to be enjoyed on a serious level... On the other hand, I do appreciate they were trying to do things differently, instead of the same things over and over, and lament that it didn't do quite well enough for them to further innovate and do more supernatural-based stuff which would definitely pleased me. I would probably recommend, it just to see what its like, but I afraid this telenovela was never released outside of Brazil and to this day, it was never reprised as far as I am concerned. There are some episodes uploaded to YT as well as many clips, but unless if speak Portuguese, you probably won't be more invested than just seeing a few videos.
I'd like to thank all of you reading it. I appreciate all types of feedback and hope to have incited your attention about the show. It has being a great time being part of this site and meeting so many amazing people. Its due to you I keep writing these reviews in hopes to entertain your day a bit more.
An toast to your awesomeness from your vampire prince ;)
Hey guys. How ya doing? Some months ago we reviewed Frozen together and now we team up again to review another Disney movie that is rocking in the box office at the moment, Maleficent.
Honestly, I was very skeptical to see another live action Disney movie since I was disappointed in Tim Burton's Alice In Wonderland. Which is very ironic since I love Burton films and would watch the animated Alice In Wonderland many times as a kid. Maleficent however, was magnificent.
The movie is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty where we see Maleficent fall in love with Aurora's father, Stefan, at a very young age. On Maleficent's sixteenth Birthday, Stefan gives her a true love's kiss. Unfortunately, the love was not true since Stefan is the cause of Maleficent's downfall. We see her on a journey to recover from an emotional betrayal by the only person she's ever loved.
I actually found the kiss between Stefan and Maleficent quite interesting since it does explain why Maleficent would curse Aurora to fall into a sleep-like death by pricking her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel on her sixteenth Birthday. It could be seen as a way for revenge with how Stefan broke Maleficent's heart and now Maleficent is slowly taking away what's precious to him -- his very own daughter.
Despite being one of the most iconic Disney villains ever, Maleficent was never particularly one of my favorites because there was very little to her motivation for the things she did "Yeah lets just curse this little baby for absolutely zero reason just because I am a bitch like that", sure she does transform into a dragon and it was awesome, but she was about as flat as a paper sheet. She doesn't want power or control or wealth, she is just evil for evil sake. True to that, I was really doubtful how they were going to make an interesting perspective flip in Maleficent giving her point of view of the story. However, the writers realized that since she was an difficult thing to do since Maleficent was such one-dimensional character that they made things more differently.
Maleficent not so much tells an different POV than they reinvents Sleeping Beauty as a story, outright telling that everything we knew was an lie and this movie is the true events. Maleficent was actually the heroine of a much bigger story and all the heroic characters from the fairy tale were either evil, ineffectual or incompetent. To put it perspective, its actually Aurora's father the big bad of the movie, responsible for Maleficent's suffering and the conflict within the plot. What specifically makes the movie stands out is the dark and mature "fall from grace" - her betrayal and mutilation by the man she trusted and opened her heart to can be easily seen as a rape metaphor which many other viewers had caught on that, its made all more shocking that this is a Disney movie which the last time we'seen such dark subject was the Hunchback of Notredame.
Maleficent is very much like Frozen in many aspects, including its primary theme of true love, the difference is that the supernatural female lead is the protagonist instead of the princess and carries a much more dark and mature implications. We could see that as symbol of female empowerment, which is a great thing since it means Disney is being progressive in dealing its heroines. But in the other hand, it felt like Frozen all over again which something you need to watch out for if you know what I am saying.
Honestly, I was always so mortified of Maleficent as a kid. Especially with her cruel demeanor and cackling. I did however, love Angelina Jolie's portrayal of Maleficent. Especially with the voice and high cheekbones.
I didn't like Stefan one bit since even in his very first scene, he was portrayed as a boy with the wrong intentions. In my opinion, Stefan was more sinister than Hans from Frozen since he betrayed Maleficent in exchange for royalty.
Elle Fanning was perfect casting as Aurora in my opinion. I've only seen movies from Dakota Fanning beforehand but, Elle is a natural beauty with the childlike innocence. If I'm being honest, I never liked Snow White and Cinderella but always loved Aurora with how lovely she is. It was really adorable seeing Aurora grow up in this movie.
Besides Stefan, I really disliked how Knotgrass, Thistlewite and Fittle were portrayed. Without spoiling anything, I will say that I felt the three fairy godmothers were very incompetent with watching Aurora. She wanders deep in the forest where she could easily get hurt yet, the fairy godmothers are too busy arguing with each other to even notice where Aurora went.
I was also very surprised to see Maleficent's raven Diaval who can even transform into a human. He's portrayed by Sam Riley who does a fine job at making Diaval very charming. He even develops a friendship with Aurora over the years.
Angeline Jolie plays Maleficent flawlessly, wether if she is an sympathetic or creepy . I will say I enjoyed her slowly regaining her humanity, but my favorite moments were when she was all sinister and stuff like that, like the signature scene which she curses baby Aurora "What an awkward situation indeed". I imagine the whole point of her arc was to atone for her actions, but I would have liked if she went more forward with her thirst for revenge as well, but I would have imagined that would have being something completely at odds with the other half of the story. Aurora is alright, she is kinda like every princess archetype rolled into one (she is beautiful, virtuous, innocent)and seemed too perfect as times, but I didn't mind that since its Maleficent is the protagonist and a much more compelling character.
Sharlto Copley s an amazing actor for being able to play such despicable character as King Stefan, just like in last years movie Elysium which he played the psychotic operative Kruger, he plays an specific type of villain that changes notes throughout the picture. He goes from treacherous sleazebag to Aerys Targaryen, slowly going insane over the story's course to the point his obsession of Maleficent overrides the wellbeing of his wife and daughter. He is a f*ckton times worse than Hans from Frozen.
Unfortunately what drags the movie down are all the third-part characters, such as the three fairygodmothers and the prince in particular. The formers are so hilariously incompetent in raising Aurora that its pretty much Maleficent's job of keeping the kid safe and sound (so that she can die later when she is 16) and their only purpose is probably comic relief, while the latter's only reason for exist in this movie was to show that romantic love =/= true love. The problem is that we simply can't get rid of them, cause they are all necessary to the plot one way or another. Thankfully they aren't in the movie that much and at least its balanced by the presence of Diaval, Maleficent's pet raven who can turn into an human boy.
Honestly, I even forgot visual effects were even used for the film since everything looks so realistic nowadays. I found it very breathtaking when we see Aurora playing with the mythical creatures at night. It was very beautiful with the lighting.
The visual effects are of the best I've seen in a fantasy movie a long while. The art direction in particular tingles one of my favorites with the fey-like creatures and monsters having this Pan's Labyrinth's appeal to them. The battle sequences and Maleficent's power displays were amazing to watch, even if somewhat brief (but hey, we can't be like LotR all the time, can we?)
Lana Del Ray's Once Upon A Dream was the highlight of the movie in my opinion. It's like she practically reinvented the song with her chilling voice. Supposedly, it was even Angelina Jolie who handpicked Lana for Maleficent's soundtrack.
All of the soundtrack was pretty unremarkable for me. Even Lana Del Ray's cover of Once Upon a Dream feels cheesy and out of place, especially since the rest of the film isn't a musical. Not helping matters is how divorced the song sounds from its original context
9/10 - Maleficent is a very entertaining movie however, my only complaint is how the ending is very similar to Frozen when it comes to true love. It's not necessarily a bad thing but, I'm hoping Disney won't overuse the 'twist' in future movies.
8/10 - It was a very entertaining movie, with an awesome protagonist, a great story,. Probably not the best movie of the year or one you will ever seen, but it does well enough in what sets to do. Those expecting a more villanous Maleficent will be disappointed, but if you wanted a Frozen albeit more darker, there you have it.
After reviewing some bad and some really, really bad vampire movies I figure it would have being a treat to review a good movie for once and couldn't be more fitting than one of the best vampire movies have to offer. You see, Bram Stoker's Dracula is an cult classic, unlike so many adaptations, boasts that it's the most loyal one to the source material. Its true many of Dracula movies deviate considerably from the novel like Orson Welles once said "[It] would make an marvelous movie. In fact nobody made has ever made it... All the movies are based on the play" And Francis Coppolla gets close enough than most. However, its one of those movies I would really, really want to love so badly, but I can't get over the fact that it hasn't aged very well today and doesn't hold up in several aspects. Don't get me wrong, I still like this movie I will try to explain as best as I can why this is a good movie, but not nearly as great as I thought it would have being.
After the fall of Costantinople, Vlad III Dracula successfully defends Eastern Europe of the rising Turkish forces. However a false report of his death ends up leading his beloved Elisabetha to commit suicide. Enraged to hear his wife is damned for taking her own life even after he thought for God's faith, Vlad renounces him forever and vows to rise from his own death and have his vengeance. 500 years later, British state agent Jonathan Harker is summoned to Transylvania before wedding his fiancé Mina, to finish an assignment his predecessor couldn't (who is now). His client is Count Dracula, now an wizened old man that is purchasing several properties in England for some mysterious reason known only to himself.
The Count arranges for Jonathan to remain in his castle as an guest (i.e. his prisoner) while he sails West to feasting on the ship crew and unleashing his evil upon setting foot on dry land. While draining Mina's best friend Lucy (played by Sally Frost), he discovers that Mina is also played by Winona Ryder so therefore, she must be Elisabetha's reincarnation. He pursues an forbidden romance with her, despite the fact she is already engaged and waiting for her soon-to-be husband to return (unaware that its Dracula holding Jonny captive). When Lucy's condition worsen, Professor Van Helsing (played by Anthony Hopkins) is summoned to save her, and soon becomes clear they are dealing with something unnatural and they must prepare themselves for the worst.
I will say up front that Gary Oldman and Anthony Hopkins do amazing jobs as Count Dracula and Van Helsing respectively, even when they are supposedly overreacting but considering what their characters are supposed to be, its probably fitting. Winona does an alright job as the female lead (despite all things considered that I am about to blast on her character in a few lines below), though Keane Reeves is the most horribly miscast part in the movie, attempting an British accent while he still can't let go of the from the Billy and Ted mode.
The costumes and set designs looked amazing for the most part, my particular favorite was Dracula's armor that he wears in the prologue. Though some bits looked so silly namely Dracula's old man form (with the hair braided in form of butt cheeks) and his giant bat form (that rubber costume in particular is so obvious, I can't even imagine that being impressive when it was first released). The orchestral score was also great, specially the Prologue track which Dracula becomes an vampire, the "Brides" theme among others.
I appreciate some elements from the books were preserved here. This is one of the few movies that depict Dracula as an old man in the beginning of the story and grows young as he drinks more and more blood and just like in the book, he is capable of walking under the sunlight (albeit being a lot more weaker than he would have being at night). Though they aren't given much to do, Quincey, Jack and Arthur are present all at once instead of being combined into one character or removed completely. The one big glaring change I noticed before I move to the big one is Lucy Westenra's character. Whereas in the books she was depicted as this pure, caring, ingenue girl, she is reinmagined as an the movie's Ms. Fanservice, appearing to provide some gratuitous nudity and baring her breast during the vampire attacks. It was not necessarily a bad change, an unnecessary one I suppose, but since they were aiming for an more mature and HBO-like adaptation I guess. I can get over all that, not so much the following aspect.
You see the biggest problem I have with the movie is the romance aspect. Never mind it was never present in the books to begin with, but its a derailing narrative for all characters and the movies and as much as I want to ignore it, its remarkable similar to (brace yourselves) Twilight. And before you raise your torches and pitchforkes to storm my castle, stop me if you've heard this one before: an brunette woman who is bored with her life is infatuated with this dark, mysterious and dangerous dude who turns out to be a vampire. She just met this guy and is too eager to abandon her normal life to be with him, she pleads that he turns her into a vampire, but he initially refuses because he doesn't want her to be damned as he is... You get my point. This movie has more in common with Twilight than most people would imagine, I know it sounds like heresy, but if you watch the movie you will release the similarities. And the worst part? Its not anymore believable than Edward and Bella.
The romance is the one aspect that drives the entire movie, but ends up overshadowing everything that would have made for a more interesting one. Dracula is completely defanged of all threat as an villain, since he is reduced to an tragic and pathetic creature instead of the outright incarnation of evil he is supposed to be. And the sad thing, he is not as nearly as sympathetic as the movie try to paint him as. He renounced God because his beloved committed suicide and decided to become damned alongside her, and therefore we are supposed to feel bad for him. However, in the same movie, he has his vampire brides feast on a baby while forcing Jonny to watch in horror, kills every poor bastard aboard the Demeter who were unfortunate enough to become his meal and outright rapes/seduces his beloved' best friend, and when Mina marries Jonny, he decides to turn Lucy into his bride instead. And that is just the thing he does onscreen, who knows how many atrocities he may have committed, how many people he had killed as vampire in the meantime between the prologue and the movie's events.
All of this would have being fine if he was intentionally played up as a complete monster he is supposed to be. He does precisely all that in the books (although the sexual assaults are more metaphorical in nature) and he is never portrayed as anything else than a remorseless, irredeemable, monstrous f*ck. Now I am not saying there should never, ever have sympathetic depictions of Dracula. Gabriel Belmont in Lords of Shadow is probably one of my favorite video game characters of all time (haters gonna hate) he was dark and evil sure, but he was likable and his tragic backstory also similar to this Dracula (having lost an loved one which lead to their fall into darkness).
Although Mina Harker is butchered having originally being an strong female character (which was unusual to see in books around the time it was written), that despite not being physically capable, possessed immense spiritual and emotional strength (For f*ck sake, she holds much better than her husband does when she is bitten by the Count to the point she is the one having to comfort HIM)in this movie, Mina accidentally serves as deconstruction for Bella Swan in retrospective. Think about it: she is so slavishly obsessed with this handsome vampire dude to the point she becomes pretty f*cked up the head. When the heroes try to protect her at any cost, she sabotages their attempts, all for the sake of being with her beloved dark prince, an monster who feasts on the blood of the living and she knows all the horrible things he had done. Yeah, you'd have to be insane to be in love with such man. This is just me reading too much into things, I sincerely doubt that was ever the creator's intention, since we are supposed to be believe their true love is genuine.
True to that, the heroes are treated as villainous trying to interfere in their love, even being referred to as "God's madmen". The vampire hunters hardly can be considered "evil" since three of them want to avenge the woman they loved that was murdered by the vampire and another who wants to prevent the same thing from happening to his wife. And because of that the ending may come off as a little hard to swallow (spoiler alert) Dracula dies in Mina's arms, the curse is lifted from her and both his soul and Elisabetha's ascend to Heaven... Hmmm why?!? I mean, why is he going to Heaven after all the sh*t he pulled? How about Lucy? How about his Brides? Are they in Hell for becoming vampires? That is an very insipid happy ending you know... I can't believe I am not watching Dracula: Dead and Loving It.
*Sigh* I don't know if I can complain that much... The only thing the movie exists is because of the script that was pitched to Francis Ford Coppolla by Winona Ryder to begin with and he was compelled to make a experience resembling an "erotic dream" (not making this up). I wonder if we had removed that crutch from the project, would have the entire thing crumbled.
7/10 - Despite me sh**ting all over the one important aspect of the movie, I do admit I enjoyed it back then and I still do, but not as much as I would want to. I would recommend it to any vampires' fan although you need to be warned about the contents before going in, especially if you want to see something compared as an superior work to Twilight. I'd be hard pressed to call this the best Dracula movie period, with all the sh*t I complained about it, but I guess its one of the best ones it had to offer.
Thank you guys for reading my review. I hope you enjoyed it. What did you think about the movie? Share your thoughts and opinions in comment section below.
You may recall Dracula 3000, an thoroughly miserable experience that that was my last movie review's subject. It had an obviously silly B-movie premise (Dracula IN SPACE), except it was such unbearably slog of a movie I barely could make any fun of it, the only entertainment I got was imagining a much better movie I could have being watching instead. Perhaps a movie that is so bad its good, instead of a movie so bad it makes me want to sleep. So what about BloodRayne, another vampire movie? Well I will say its kinda like I wanted when seeing Dracula 3000. It's not an good movie by any stretch, but far more enjoyable than that shipwreck in comparison. Though personally, I have an personal stake (hehe) against this movie from the beginning.
Off to an demoralizing start, BloodRayne is also a video game series developed by Terminal Reality and published by Majesco. You heard it right folks, this movie is an video game adaptation. What could possibly go wrong? In all fairness, both games are really entertaining, if criminally underrated. They are about an Dhampyr (an half-human, half-vampire) called Rayne that works for an secret organization called Brimstone Society, that is devoted into riding the world of all evil vampires. The first game is set during the 30s between WW1 and WW2, where Rayne fight against Nazis and stop them from acquiring some unholy artifacts that will grant them victory, while the second game set decades afterwards during modern times, she confronts an vampire cult that worships her father, the vampire lord Kagan, who had raped her mother and killed her family. If you want to play an hack an' slash game as an vampire, don't worry this game got you covered.
However, no background is worth without speaking about the mastermind behind it. None other than the much dreaded Uwe Boll. Every gamer or movie buff has at least heard of him at some point or another, but here is what you need to know. Uwe is an German director infamous for some truly bad video game adaptations, such as Alone in the Dark, Postal and Far Cry (Yeah I am not kidding), known for his absolutely batsh*t attitude towards criticism, having challenged movie critics to boxing matches and the like. Petitions were made to forbid him from making movies ever again and despite all of them bombing so hard, he still manages to get finance them thanks to tax loopholes. It wouldn't be much of an exaggeration to say he is the spiritual successor of Ed Wood (no matter how much this sentence sounds dreadful in my mouth).
Our movie is very loosely (emphasis on LOOSELY) based on the games' plot, taking a few elements and cues from both, but not adapting either of them. Its set during the Middle Ages (instead of WW2 or modern times), in Romenian (initially an unidentified Eastern European country) where vampires roam at night being opposed only by the Brimstone Society and people speak with an unexplicable British accent. The most powerful of them, Kagan had an hybrid child called Rayne with an human woman. After her mother is killed, the orphaned Rayne spends much of her life in a freakshow circus, where she is cut on regular basis and fed with blood to heal in front of the audience. One night, when her handlers decide to have the "brightest" idea to rape her, she awakens her vampire side and goes in a berserker rage, feasting on all of the carnies that came across her way. Its mind-boggling that in this setting, vampires are an serious and easily recognizable threat, these idiots keep an woman that feasts on blood as the lead attraction in their show without realizing her true nature.
A trio of Brimstone vampire hunters, made up of Vladimir (played by the visibly embarrassed Michael Madsen) Katarin (played by Michelle Rodriguez) and Sebastian (Matthew Davis, who would later play another vampire hunter - Alaric Saltzman - in Vampire Diaries) comes across the circus and deduce this is the work of a Dhampyr, and decide to recruit her to their cause and help defeat Kagan. Unbestknown to them, Kagan had killed her mother because he somehow sensed their daughter would ruin his plans in the future...? Specially Rayne absorbs an mystical artifact that Kagan is looking after in his bide to acquire supreme power, that is her perfect chance of revenge for her mother.
Fun fact: This movie was literally written in one draft. Guinevere Turner, the original screenwriter, was unavailable on location to rewrite the film and Boll used the first draft of the script as basis (and it shows).
You wouldn't think that a B-movie such as this would have this hard to follow but somehow they managed it. The plot surrounds the search of the unholy relics of an ancient vampire that removes any weakness they have (the eye makes them immune to water, the rib to the cross and the heart to sunligh). Kagan searches for it and the heroes try to stop him. Sounds simple huh? Turns out there is another vampire called Elrich, that supposedly is in league with Kagan and was a Brimstone member before being turned and is also Katarin's father. Despite working with both sides against the middle, he presicely does nothing, spending all his time in his room with his last scene being with Kagan's head enforcer threatening him - without us knowing if he survived it or not. His scenes are not only padding, they are too distracting when you are trying to understand his role in the story. He does get his daughter to betray Brimstone, but its not clear what side is she pilling to, since her father seems to be on his own. I know that is a strange thing to harp on, but I couldn't stop thinking about what the hell Billy Zane is supposed to do here.
Being too convoluted for its own good doesn't stop the movie from being too clichéd and unoriginal with its absolutely trite dialogue, not helped by actors saying them without an ounce of irony. Obligatory clichés such "the chosen one" (with an old soothsayer telling Rayne is destined to stop Kagan), "the guards must be crazy" (Madsen and Alaric are captured by Kagan's forces and the way the manage to escape is so stupid even they comment on it) and "All your bases are belong to use" (when Brimstone HQ is absolutely raided by Kagan's forces when Katarin turns on her comrades). Of course, it wouldn't have being a Uwe Boll movie without the juvenile approach to sex and nudity. Halfway through the movie Rayne and Sebastian have sex without no build up beforehand. They were not even established as being in a romantic relationship before (in fact Sebastian propose to kill Rayne at several points) and after that they kinda become lovers, but not really. Then there are Meat Loaf's harem who is portrayed by Hungarian real prostitutes that Uwe Boll hired because they were cheaper than real actresses. As low budgeted you can possibly get...
The action scenes are laughable. Swords used in dueling looked unspeakably lame upon closer inspection, having rounded points instead of sharp ends (my own prop swords look more legit than any swords in this movie), and that is just other's characters weapons. Rayne's classical arm blades are retconned as being some artistic tools owned by her circus friend, that somehow Rayne manages to use it in combat despite being not really weapons until its broken during her training on Brimstone, instead of a real fight because f*cking logic in the arse. It wouldn't take a genius to guess they didn't really hire an real fight choreographer for the swordplays. The most "outstanding" example of this is the final confront between Rayne and her father where she uses some really impractical movements (her weapon is a really unrealistic on its own right) that tries too hard to appear cool and awesome, but no character would really fight like the way she does.
Do I even have talk about the acting? Michael Madsen and Ben Kingsley are the only thing worth bringing up since they are truly great actors among the trainwreck. Notably, Madsen looks like he is so not having a good time, and he already gone on record that he was drunk while shooting the movie and found the experience abominable). Ben, on the other hand, couldn't give less of shit. The dude played Mahatma Gandhi for f*cks sake, so his dignity is still intact even after being in this absolute bag of sh*t. The only actor who (BY FAR) is genuinely enjoying himself is Meat Loaf who is paid to appear in only one scene, being surrounded by the already mentioned topless ladies while overreacting to the extreme. Hmm, I guess that was a fair deal... Who wouldn't enjoy themselves anyway?
Astonishingly, BloodRayne is just the first installment in a movie trilogy also directed by Uwe Boll. The second movie is set in the Old West with an vampire Billy the Kid and the third movie takes place during World War II, much like the first game had. At the time of writing I haven't seen either movie yet, but who knows what the future may hold for us, huh?
4/10 - In one hand, it's a complete spit in the face of BloodRayne fans and a carnival of ineptitude in every regard (acting, script, effects)... On the other hand, that can turn out to be an enjoyable sit if you know what kind of movie you are getting. It's the perfect storm of badness, pilling up terrible ideas, big name actors tarnishing their reputation and the such. The acting is at least hammy enough to keep you from being bored. If you want a genuinely good experience with BloodRayne, go check out the games instead (in fact, I might review them in the future as well).
Thank you guys for reading it. I hope you enjoyed it? What did you think of the movie? Let me know in the comment section. Some more vampire reviews are coming. See ya next time =P
Welcome my friends to the season finale in Game of Thrones' fourth season. Today we look at the tenth and final episode entitled "The Children" in which circumstances change after an unexpected arrival from north of the Wall. Danymust face harsh realities. Bran learns more about his destiny. Tyrion sees the truth about his situation.
At the Wall
Picking up directly where the last episode ended, Jon marches through the snow in the bright morning sunlight into the Haunted Forest where Mance Rayder and his wildlings have set up camp. The King Beyond the Wall steps out of his tent to meet him. He notes that Jon Snow is wearing black all again, but Snow tells him he's here to treat with him. Jon and Mance try to discuss their peace terms, but we all know its bullsh**t on Jon's part since he is stalling long enough just to find an excuse to kill him. Mance actually picks up on it and asks if Ned Stark's son is willing to breach sacred hospitality.
Before both of them find out the truth, they hear horns and bugles. We see a wide shot of an army of mounted banners carrying banners march into the camps. They attack on two sides and rout all the Free Folk in their wake, it's a complete massacre with Mance's tent at the centre. Jon Snow and Mance are all lost as the soldiers criss cross through the forest. Mance then tells everyone to cease saying there has been enough blood spilt of their kind. The mounted knights stop and through the snow we see two familiar shapes marching forth. It's Stannis Baratheon and Davos Seaworth, fresh from Braavos. A quick introduction happens where Davos asks Mance to kneel before the "one true king of the seven kingdoms" but Mance, duly elected King Beyond the Wall will not kneel. Stannis takes this rebuke in his stride and asks Mance to be chained. Jon Snow introduces himself to Stannis, telling him he's Ned Stark's son much to Stannis' surprise. Stannis tells Jon that Ned was a honorable man. He wouldn't spare Mance would he. Jon vouches for Mance telling him that he's been honorable and right to him and his father would have accepted that. He also tells Stannis to burn all the dead.
Next shot we cut to Castle Black where Master Aemon is giving an eulogy to all fallen Rangers that perished during the battle, among them Grenn and Pyp as the visible deceased :'( Then Jon goes to visit Tormund and let him know that their forces are in disarray, Mance was captured and with nobody capable left to lead the Wildlings they will scatter. Despite their massive forces, in the end, they still lost. Can I just say: F*CK YEAH!!! STANNIS DID SOMETHING IMPORTANT AFTER TWO SEASONS OF SULKING IN A CORNER!!!!!! I WAS CRYING OUT "STANNIS, STANNIS, STANNIS" THE SECOND I RECOGNIZED THE FLAMING STAG IN THE KNIGHT'S BANNERS!
Goddamn, I've being waiting that for a long time. This was in fact the one moment I expected to happen last week episode and even complained for ending so abruptly. Looking back now, I would prefer if the scene where he captures Mance Ryder to have being the last shot in the "The Watchers on the Wall" episode. What a rip off guys!!! Didn't help that episode ended ten minutes earlier than the normal ones do :\ And oh there is still Ygritte's funeral that had to be held separately than others. Of course it needed to. I seriously could give less of a f*ck about her death, even with the soundtrack trying its hardest to pull my heartstrings. If anything I am only happy that Samsara-like entity of bitchery and annoyance won't come back from the dead as an zombie since her corpse was burned for real :v
Daenerys faces yet another challenge in her overthrow of the city's existing culture; an elderly former slave wants to return to his previous life of servitude. Apparently the communal shelters in Meereen, for those without homes, are having their older refugees attacked by the younger folk. If nothing else, the slave says he wants to return to having a purpose rather than simply being free, mentioning there are many others wanting the same thing. Dany eventually relents, allowing the slave to return to service for no longer than a year. Barristan warns the Great Masters will take advantage of Dany's loophole, preaching caution.
Things then take a sharp downturn; a farmer carries a bundle into the throne room, weeping and proclaiming something about a black-winged creature that came from the sky. The bundle is the charred bones of his three-year-old daughter. Dany freaks out somewhat, before luring her two remaining dragons, Rhaegal and Viserion, into the catacombs beneath Meereen. She chains both at the neck and starts to seal them inside, but not before they realise what's happening and cry out for their mother. In tears, Dany closes their cell behind her.
Well, sh******t... I think this is the part that the consequences' of Daenerys quasi-messianic crusade come to full circle and finally bite her in the ass. Turns out that freedom for a lot of former slaves is a lot worse than being slaved, since they don't have skills to survive on their own, this is an dog-eat-dog world after all not an ideal heroic fantasy... And most important of all letting your dragons roam freely in the surrounding countryside, without any restraint? Even after seeing how violent they've become? Don't look so damn surprised when they start getting a taste for human flesh. It was extremely sad that she had to lock up Rhaegal and Viserion since they are the nicest of the dragons (it was Drogon's fault after all) and saddest of all? That is their most significant appearence in the series for as long as I can remember.
"A dragon is no slave", heh? This sentence just turned hollow...
Ultimately I suppose it was a good thing to happen in her storyline. Her arc in previous season was completely at odds to what was happening with other stories over Westeros (last season's finale started with the northern army completely crushed and ended with her being adored as the freedmen's "mother" - a scene that left a really bitter taste in the mouths of some viewers), she needed to have some flaws and obstacles being thrown her way. I'd imagine that things are about to get a lot worse for her too...
Beyond the Wall
Bran and his friends have finally reached the Weirwood Bran saw in his vision back in "The Lion and the Rose". As they make their way towards it, a bunch of animated skeletons burst forth from the ground and start attacking them. During the fight Jojen is stabbed repeatedly by one, whilst a little girl appears at a cave near the base of the Weirwood. The girl implores they all get inside before the skeletons kill them. After being urged by Jojen to go without him, Meera ends his suffering and follows Bran and Hodor inside. As they leave, Jojen's body and a heap of the skeletons are blown up by fireballs thrown by the little girl, who identifies herself as an children of the Forest.
Inside the cave, the skeletons are halted by something that causes any who get inside to fall apart. Team Bran move inward, reaching part of the cave covered in old vines. In its centre is a wizened old man seated inside what looks like a tree trunk - the Three-Eyed Crow in human form. He welcomes Bran, and says Jojen knew of his fate even before he left with them. Bran asks if the Three-Eyed Crow can help him walk. "You'll never walk again," the Raven tells him, "but you will fly." And like that Bran's story ends and there are so many things unanswered, which leads to the same conclusion I had about his storyline: I don't even know the significance of Bran's quest, and I doubt he does too at this point. Its such mystery surrounding the three-eyed crow and to what the Reeds were going on about that I am completely lost. I am sure it will be revealed eventually and it leaves a lot of room to especulation, but for now, I am so confused to what is driving him to go on (he even had to sacrifice his one chance to be reunited with his brother Jon) and how he thinks it will pay off for in the end. Is he going ride dragons? Great, if get them out of Meereen's chamber first? Oh yeah, I need to point out that while the fight scene with the Wights was really intense, at the same time it felt really cheesy. Its not always you get to see something out of heroic fantasy into a series that places priority more on political intrigues and sh*t.
Oh, also... I didn't wanted to be the one to bring this up, but did Meera just commit kinslaying by putting her brother out of his misery? The one taboo that anyone who commits it is believe to be forever cursed in the eyes of gods and men? I might be wrong but, well shiiiiiiiiii...
At King's Landing
We cut to a massive and ugly looking wound on Gregor Clegane's abdomen, turns good Prince Oberyn got the last laugh having coated his spear in poison which is prolonging the Mountain's suffering. After dismissing Maester Pycelle, Cersei admits she enjoys Qyburn company better, since he is performing an experiment that will keep Clegane alive in some way, but will leave him changed.
Man, I was disappointed I didn't got to see the Mountain screaming in agony :v I bet they had it filmed, but it didn't look very good so they decided to just left the actor lying on a bed doing nothing. Its a shame since Clegane is one of those characters that deserved to die screaming. Oh well, I am content with the irony that, he is now in the hands of one of the men who survived the Harrenhal massacre that Mountain ordered back in Season 3. I guess Gregor will be in a whole new world of a pain on Qyburn's hands.
In the chambers of the Hand of the King, Cersei and Tywin discusses her upcoming marriage to Loras Tyrell which she tells him point blank is not going to happen. Tywin tells her that she'll do it because he always gets his way. He even flatters her telling her that the future of the Lannister legacy now depends entirely on her and she's very important. When that doesn't fly, he goes for an anecdote about Cersei being stubborn in her childhood and Tywin setting her straight. Cersei cuts him off and confirms to him what he refuses to believe: she and Jaime are indeed in a relationship. Having dropped this bombshell on him, Cersei strides off while Tywin stays behind, seemingly at a loss. Cersei then interrupts Jaime flipping through the Book of Brothers, telling him all she wants is him and that she's admitted their incest to Tywin. While at first a little hesitant, Jaime eventually relents to her advances as they start to have sex on what must surely be a very uncomfortable table. Huh...
Really, dude? I mean... I was always under the impression that Tywin was in denial over his kid's relationships and he now he is completely dumbfounded to her his daughter confirmed it. I couldn't tell if he was just too proud to admit it or simply ignorant to the whole affair.
We cut next to Tyrion's cell where he is awaiting for execution in the Black Cells, receives an unexpected visitor; Jaime, who swiftly breaks him out and puts him on a path towards Varys, his co-conspirator. They've arranged for a ship to take Tyrion away from the capitol. After a bittersweet goodbye between the brothers, Tyrion changes paths and makes for the Tower of the Hand. He enters his father's bedroom, finding a sleeping Shae underneath the covers. After a brief moment of shock as the two wordlessly see each other, Shae reaches for a knife while Tyrion runs to stop her. The two fight, but Tyrion gets the upper hand by snagging Shae by the necklace she's wearing. He chokes her to death, then lies beside the bed and utters a tearful, "I'm sorry."
Tyrion then takes a crossbow from the wall of the bedroom, and moves to the privy. He finds his father sitting there, who seems remarkably calm for a man with his son pointing a crossbow at him with his pants down. Tyrion asks Tywin why, when the latter knew the former was innocent of Joffrey's death, did he have him sentenced to execution? Tywin dismisses him, saying he'd never allow Tyrion to be executed and would've found a way out for him (though Tyrion seems to doubt the veracity of his claim). He also dismisses Tyrion's statement that he loved Shae, calling her a whore. Tyrion threatens to shoot him if he says that word again. Haughty to the last, his father doesn't think he's got the stones for it. Tywin says they'll go back to his chambers and speak with some dignity. His son says he can't go back, because she (Shae) is in there. "You're afraid of a dead whore?" Tywin quips. And before you know it, a crossbow bolt twangs and hits Tywin. As Tyrion calmly reloads, Tywin seems in shock that his son's shot him. "You are no son of mine," he hisses. "I am your son," insists Tyrion, forcing his father to confront his folly. "I have always been your son." He finishes the job with a bolt in Tywin's heart. And so dies in the most undignified ed Tywin Lannister, Hand of the King to Aerys II Targaryen and Joffrey Baratheon.
Varys takes Tyrion in, asking in horror what he's done. He puts the dwarf in a box, asking him to trust Varys as he's led him this far. The box is put on a ship sailing out of King's Landing. As the bells in the capitol toll for Tywin's death, Varys gives the Red Keep one last, lingering look before boarding the ship with Tyrion and sailing off to parts unknown since he knows he will be implicated on Tywin's death.
Oh well, this is a crappy way to go, huh? Anyone? Anyone? Okay..... *sulks into a corner. On all seriousness, I should be celebrating that Tywin Lannister is dead since karma finally got someone who REALLY, REALLY, REALLY deserved it and you couldn't have a better person than Tyrion for being the one to kill him, not even one of the Starks... But my reaction to his death is just smh. Dude I don't care how powerful you are, no one is at their most vulnerable when they are attending nature's calling! You shouldn't try to bully someone with a murderous blood thirst who is pointing a crossbow at you.
On the bigger picture... Man, the Lannisters are f*cked. So f*cked... Their patriarch is now dead, their mines dried up and now their money lenders are supporting the biggest threat to their government, Stannis Baratheon. Looks like what Davos said to the Braavosi bankers will turn out to be true. Who is going to pick up the slack now that is gone? Well, nobody as capable and ruthless as he is I can tell you that. Jaime wants nothing to do with carrying his father's legacy. Cersei? Bitch is so incompetent and despise by everyone. Any other of the family's distant cousins? Please... As of right now, I don't think it would have being much of a exageration to say the Boltons are the ones doing much better now since they have unchallenged control of the North.
I'd love to see Cersei's face when she found out Tyrion had escaped, while she endure the knowledge she might never see Myrcella again, now she is an Martell hostage. She ain't going to like that for sure...
At the Riverlands
Brienne and Podrick were encamping on their way to the Bloody Gate, but end up losing their horses along the ride. Surprisingly they run in the way of... Wait for it, Arya and the Hound. In possibly a moment that made me giggle out of control when I saw both of them speaking about fighting with swords since I would wuv if Brienne had some warrior women talk with Arya <3 Unfortunately, the moment is ruined when the Hound appears and they recognize what each other's identities and intentions are. An argument between Sandor and Brienne quickly escalates and both of them end up drawing swords to which will be the one to protect Arya.
The fight scene between Sandor and Brienne is pretty well-coreographed, even though I had a real hard time in rooting for either side since I love both characters and they were both driven to protect Arya, unfortunately both their arguments were flawed - Arya is not really in good company with the Hound since there is a price in his head and Arya might be liable to go down with him should the worse happens, and while Brienne was sworn to deliver both Cat's daughters to safety, problem is there is absolutely nowhere safe for this girl - her whole family is dead, even relatives she never met were dead, as far as everyone is concerned, she is ABSOLUTELY alone in this world.
Their fight soon delves into a fierce brawl which both fighters don't hesitate to use some underhanded tactics such as punching each other in the jewels. After some agonizing moments, Brienne wins (very barely) by knocking Sandor off a cliff and falling off. Some of my friends complained that the fight's result was bullsh*t since Brienne couldn't win against the Hound specially in the books which she is less experienced than her series counterpart; I can see where they coming from, but if you remember, the Hound was suffering a serious injury and you can notice that he is favoring his left arm during the fight, so its anyone's guess if the fight would have turned out differently if he was at full strength.
Arya managed to slip away from Pod and Brienne and find Sandor mortally wounded and with a broken leg. He knows he won't have much left so he begs for the gift of mercy and to be put ouf of his misery. Arya is initially reluctant to do so, so he tries to goad her reminding her that he killed her friend Mycah - the butcher's son from way over the first season and gloats how he should have raped her sister Sansa way back in the Battle of Blackwater. This action turned out to a pretty unwise one, since Arya decides a gift of mercy is too good for him and leaves him to die slowly and alone.
She manages to reach a port with an vessel and try to arrange a travel to the North, but the captain refuses it. Instead she gives him the coin that Jaqen H'ghar gave her in Season 2 and says the words. With that the season ends as Arya is sailing East to Braavos, the place that comparetively sucks the least in the world of Ice and Fire.
Oh well, it looks like Braavos will feature more in the next season, and she will likely meet J'aqen Haghar once again and I am totally okay with that :)
This was pretty damn good episode, there were few things that annoyed me about it but not enough to pull it all down for me. Bookreaders will know this but I was specially annoyed by a certain scene that didn't make it through (and not talking about just the elk-riding dude above), but for the most part the show did a good job in delivering the best scenes in the show. I had to think a lot about it, this is probably the best finale compared to other seasons and its also the one that ends on more happier note for some characters such as Tyrion being safe, Bran reached his destination, Stannis saved the Night's Watch and Arya is leaving that rotten carcass of a continent behind.
Now closing thoughts on this season as a whole, it has being a pretty solid one and an major improvement from Season 3 I think. Now I am on this tangent, I will admit that Season 3 had its moments such as the Sack of Astapor, the Hound vs Berric and the Red Wedding, but also a LOT of boring scenes that with so much exposition that it was hard to keep invested on them, on top of having the weakest finale and premiere in all series. This season as a whole had more action-driven scenes and kept enough momentum that they managed to make scenes that were clearly padding entertaining without you noticing it and for the most part, even scenes in King's Lading were strolled over the gardens like they always do did have some gravitas and managed to keep my investment for the most part. I even enjoyed the curve balls this season threw like the true nature about the White Walkers (even though its somewhat detrimental in the long run for the book's if you know what I am saying), some unexpected characters' deaths and among some other plot changes that had worked than in the books.
As for Season 5 though, I don't feel as excited for it right now which is strange, I know since this episode ended on a pretty strong note. I am not looking forward much for it because they are now supposed to adapt the fourth book "A Feast of Crows" which is generally held as the low point of the series and that doesn't inspire much confidence. But since they had spliced some storylines from Book 5 into this one that was based on the last third of Book 3, while still making things compelling enough... Who knows, a lot of things can change until them, I might not be around here anymore and maybe Martin will release the next book so he doesn't have the risk of the series overtaking his work.
So thank you guys for sticking around to my reviews! I am really proud for doing them every Monday on schedule, even though they were really tiresome to write. I appreciate all comments and I'd like to thank all my friends for being so supportive ^__^ I'd like to hear your own opinion in this finale and the season as a whole.
Well, guys... The wait is finally over. I expected this game to be unveiled a little earlier this year like Assassin's Creed Black Flag was last year in February, but they had waited a little longer until E3 and now we have the first details about the seventh major installment in the franchise, Assassin's Creed Unity, which oddly is not an spin-off following any character in particular, but still its own standalone game without being numbered. So anyways let's get to the details
A bankrupted nation because of incompetent rulers and a deadly decadent noble court. The commoners are so poverty stricken and the immense gap between social classes enforced by a severely rigid social system, suffering an famine so terrible that makes bread too expensive for the average person to buy. When the queen casually quips they should eat cake instead, common people decide they had enough, they declare rebellion against their government and after forcing them out of control, they decide to take the reins for themselves, only for them to turn out to be so great at ruling either - you can even make the argument they were worse too - Yep, that is the French Revolution right here.
Its a interesting albeit a little predictable choice (c'mon, you know they would sooner or later) to set an Assassin's Creed game. The French Revolution is regarded as a somewhat cynical chapter in human history; the public can come up with some idealized fantasy versions of other time periods such as the Renaissance, the American Independency and the Golden Age of Piracy. But no matter how, in here it will always be assholes against bigger ones. Take your pick: the extravagant, foppish and corrupt nobles that leave their country being run to the ground while focusing into partying or the bloodthirsty, thuggish rebels who commit several acts of violence in the name of revolution and once they get into power, prove to be more cruel tyrants than their predecessors?
Okay that is an almost gross exaggeration of course, the revolutionaries started out with some pretty liberal and progressive ideas, which developed much later into what today are considered basic human rights. So you can see, it was pretty important turning point for our history. Its just this 15-year long event is better remembered by its more infamous part, the Reign of Terror (which lasted less than an year) when the rebels decided that fear was more effective way of governing than justice and oversaw the executions of thousands of people. And true to this general dark idea, the tone of the game itself was established in the first gameplay demo, which showed an nobleman being throw to an angry mob, who proceeds to decapitate him and place his head on spike along with several other unlucky bastards... And all of that from his point of view. I don't think I ever seen something that gruesome and graphic before in this series - I mean, I saw guys being stabbed a lot, one poor soul having his legs crushed, one being poisoned but to see a guy's head still alive for some moments before life fades out from his eyes... ? Ew.
Now lets take a look at our protagonist. His name is Arno Dorian, born in 1768, he is French with some Austrian heritage. He joined the Order in 1789 after being hurt by an loss he suffered in his past, and desires to expose the true powers behind the revolution. You know judging from what I am looking, he seems to be cross between Ezio and Connor, having the former's style and the latter's motivations and both tragic back stories. I have to wonder what type of role he will play since much like Connor, his monologues do sound a awful like Connor's speeches about freedom, and I imagine he will probably sympathize with the the rebels's plight and support them, but when he sees them turning into oppressors themselves, he will try to oppose them as well, regardless of their previous alliance and try to always do the right thing - a possible change from the initially self-serving anti-hero that was Edward Kenway.
I completely dig his outfit, I love that they have done away with the white scheme clothing despite being the code dress for all Assassins, the fact is I always dyed my clothes to a darker color once I got the chance, and its so great his default color will be my favorite black and blue, sparing me the trouble of dyeing it. I also like his fighting style wielding a single rapier since I disliked using two at the same time on Black Flag. The only thing I really dislike about him is his Hidden Crossbow - its by far the stupidest weapon design I've seen in this series. I'd imagine it fits him better than an bow and arrow or an blow pipe, but I still dislike it due to being so impractical.
As for other historical figures, it has being confirmed by developers we will see Comte de Meribeau, the doomed Royal Family, Marquis de Sade, the Jacobine leader Maximilien Robespiere and a certain Corsigan captain called Napoleon before his ascension to Emperor of France. I am certain some of them will play an important part and more importantly, what roles the Assassins and the Templars will fit in the story. I'd feel really hard pressed to think the Assassins (at least the time the game is set) would have started the Revolution since they try to preserve order and customs, though it do believe it would have being more in line with the Templars manipulating the revolution to fit their own ends.
Okay now story, setting and characters were discussed, lets move on to gameplay aspects. After the fleeting dalliance that was the naval battles in AC IV: Black Flag, we are back to a more grounded experience like in previous. Though one might point out that things look the same as they ever were, developers had gone to great length to improve everything else and make good use of next-gen's capacities like they possibly couldn't in last gen. Parkour will be more fluid, specially while navigating down from an building. Instead of performing leaps of fate everywhere with conveniently placed haystacks, you will be able to navigate down a building with well placed grapples downwards in a more controlled manner.
The game will take place entirely in the city of Paris, which might be seen as a step down since other games allowed you to visit multiple locations with a massive landscape hub connecting them, devs assured this will be the largest location to date, dwarfing the landmasses of all islands and cities from the Caribbean in Black Flag. A initially rather dubious honor, since Black Flag's map was so ridiculously large that it sounds ludicrous when they desire to make a city bigger than that, though it has being stated that there are moments you will see crowds up to 5000 NPCs in one place, indicating that the location must be that huge to accommodate such number.
As for stealth aspects, which after all is the most important aspect in AC games, have being slightly reworked, now possible for you crouch like in the Batman Arkham games which will alter the way that Arno acts. I just hope however there are not too many eavesdropping and tailing missions, where you are forced to follow an target without him noticing you to a certain location, which were by far the WORST part in Black Flag. Its like Ubisoft had forgot how to do stealth missions right. Combat seems largely unchaged from previous games, despite the developers insistance that you you need to go easy on approaching targets, its not advisable to go guns blazing (swords blazing?) into approaching a situation, but of the little I've seen appears to be just as the same thing introduced in AC III (counter buttons and kill streaks) so it's largely not worth mentioning. Not that I expected some different now at this point...
Mission structure has also changed. Or, to put it more directly: missions no longer have a set structure. In previous games, you’d be given a defined set of goals. You’d achieve them, or you’d start over – either at the beginning of the mission or at an appropriate checkpoint. Assassin’s Creed Unity introduces something called Adaptive Mission Mechanic (AMM) – which is exactly what it sounds like. To explain AMM, let’s say you’re tailing a Templar target; if you get spotted, the mission might be over. That’s no longer the case. “We’ve opted for a different philosophy where we won’t tell you Tail this guy. We’ll just maybe tell you Figure out where he’s going.” That means you can tail him if you like – and if you get spotted, the tail could turn into a chase. If you lose him altogether, your goal switches to locating your target. If a riot happens to break out and your target is killed, then you can loot his body to, say, find a letter that tells you where he’s going. “So it’s really up to the player to figure out how he’s going to do this.” Of course, there’s much more to AMM than this. It’ll never be as simple as choosing the easiest path (i.e., killing every target and looting their bodies) because that could have serious repercussions in the world. “If a guy is missing, maybe they’re going to double up patrols in your next mission. So there’s a risk. It evens itself out.”
The main selling point is Co-Op, allowing up to four players join up and take story driven missions within their own world. “Each mission is a self-contained story, which means that we picked different really cool elements of the French Revolution and built a huge systemic mission around it,” according to devs. And each of these missions can be played multiple times, tackled in multiple ways, offering a different experience depending on how many of your Brotherhood join, and how they’re customizing. Though despite what the cinematic trailer and the cover art would imply, the other Assassins are not their own separate characters, not even generic assassins. You are always playing as Arno, and when other people join up to "From everybody’s perspective, they’re playing Arno, When you look at your friends, you’ll still see their unique gear and their unique weapons – but when you look at their faces, you’ll see generic Assassin faces. That way each player can still “peacock”… strutting their stuff and showing off their uniquely customized setups."
Speaking for myself, I am not a co-op fan and I dislike multiplayer as a whole, I'd rather play by myself since I am a extremely introverted person on top of being pretty terrible in teamwork. I already dread the feeling that if I somehow manage to play the game by myself, review it without touching on co-op, I already know what some people would say: "You are missing the entire point of the game", "you are not having fun with it" or "you are not playing the game right".
Though I am pretty indifferent about the co-op thing, I also will have to address the some controversy over the lack of female characters in the game. After it was aid that characters would have being fully customizable, but you wouldn't have the option to play as an female because apparently they would have to double their efforts to make the character models different from male. "A female character means that you have to redo a lot of animation," Therien said, defending the exclusion by saying it was "not a question of philosophy or choice." About this incident, in all honesty I feel kind conflicted: I mean, Assassin's Creed had featured so many strong female characters in the past on top of being racially diversive cast; among the playable protagonists were an Arab, an Italian, an Mohawk indian, an former black slave, an French and curiously an female protagonist as well ( which is more than I can say about other yearly franchises *cough* Call of Duty *cough*), since every co-op character will be Arno anyway, it would have being pretty senseless to have an female version of him. Hoooooooooowever...
I will have to call bs on the reasoning that they would have to double their efforts just to have female characters. Despite what Ubisoft would led you to believe, you wouldn't have to add 8,000 new animations recreated on a new skeletal structure or something too complicated for its own sake just to exarcebate their budget. Some games that featured both playable males and female managed to find some balancing to the point they were practically interchangeable (except for the obvious physical changes). Take the Saints Row series for example, that featured a very deep character costumization and the only visible difference between male and female models was that the women swinged their hips whenever they walked by in the slowest speed - they all fought the same way. You wouldn't have to make the female model different or more complex than Arno, if you only made it a little smaller and curvier. Hell Assassin's Creed already done this before with female recruits that were practically interchangeable from male characters. If they didn't had to make the co-op characters Arno clones, and just have them be generic Assassins, you wouldn't have that much trouble having female characters too. In all honesty, if it really did took that much effort, I'd be perfectly fine if they had pushed release for next year just so they have enough time. I could honestly go on about it, but I figure this blog is already too long and I would have rambled too much, so here is a link to a site I agree about their opinion. http://www.gameskinny.com/jjui8/five-reasons-why-ubisofts-statement-about-the-lack-of-female-assassins-in-unity-is-bogus
My closing thoughts, Unity looks like a pretty solid installment however its showing the series is already past its prime. Even someone like me who loves the hell out of this franchise knows when its time to take a time to rest or just give the series a close, specially when we are already at the seventh main installment of the series. Its uncertain if I will be able to review it since the Piss4/Xbone are costing an arm and an leg over here in Brazil and I haven't PCgamed in a long while due to some recent problems I had with my computer. I'd like to give it a chance anyway, I don't want to give up on this game and a lot can change until its actually released.
Thank you guys for reading it, I hoped you enjoyed this previous blog. What are your personal thoughts about Assassin's Creed Unity? Don't forget to comment and let me know. See ya all next time =P
One last thing I'd like to point out: there were some rumors that surfaced around the time Unity was announced that there would have being an PS3/Xbox 360 exclusive game called AC: Project Comet, that would feature some more naval battles and have an Templar as the player character, or anything else that was planned for last gen. I would being interested in this title as well, since its the one available to my consoles in possession and I would have written about it here too. Though some outlets had confirmed that such game was in development, at the time of writing this blog, no updates, no mentions or official confirmations were made, not even from E3. Most people I spoke to believe they will announce it eventually, but personally, I don't think they will. They are focusing their attention more on the current gen than anything else, If in the fortunate case I am incorrect and something is announced much later, I promise to cover about that particular game if he turns out to be real.
Welcome my friends to the climatic episode review of the fourth Game of Thrones season. Today we shall look at episode 9 "The Watcher on the Wall".
So this review's structure will be a little different from the usual one, since the action takes place entirely on Castle Black. So instead I will go by the battle's stages...
Seriously the second worst part of the episode is the first 20 minutes, when characters are speaking about their respective loves/sex lives, which I felt was just pointless and to stall the battle instead of provide an proper build up. Gilly and her baby, managing to escape the massacre at Moletown and slip through Tormund's band, reaches the gate seeking safety and relieving poor Sam who believed she died during the attack, however just as he decides to take her up to safety.
The Fire Signal
Two horn blasts are sounded, meaning Wildlings are near. Sam keeps Gilly hidden in a pantry with baby Sam and he tells her then he walks out but Gilly tells him to stay. Sam tells her he cannot abandon his fellow brothers for her. He then kisses her and promises to return alive before planting a big damn kiss on her.
It doesn't take much for the other Rangers to take notice when they see fires lighting up in the Haunted Forest "the biggest fire which the North has ever seen" just like Mance Ryder promised. When Alliser notices that he sh*t the bed by not listening to Jon's advice, he goads Jon into saying him "I told you so". However he doesn't take the bait saying that that blocking the Tunnel and drowning it was a hard decision either way, conceding to Alliser that he will follow his orders. Thorne for his part tells Jon that being a leader means following his instincts and sticking to his guns and avoiding the competing opinions who second-guess his decisions. I may not like Thorne very much (which is an understantement), but at least I can understand where he comes from and he can't abide to make decisions easily. He also gets to show further down that whe he needs to, he can fight in the frontlines and he is certainly not all talk.
We get to see a good view of the Wildlings and their Giant army, one of them gets an HOLEE SHEET moment by firing an enourmous arrows to the Wall and hitting a poor bastard so freaking hard it sends him flying to the other side. I don't know if I should be embarassed for being so owned like that or proud for having such WTF death.
Since the Wall is not very well defended from the South, Tormund and the wildlings manages to get past the gates and attack Castle Black. Thorne leaving Slynt in charge of the defense at the top of the Wall return to give an rousing speech worthy of Tyrion Lannister, making me forget just for a moment that I hate his guts and then completely brawling out with Tormund, which is impressive since Thorne lasts longer than any ranger, though he still gets injured during the fight.
Turns out the decision to put Slynt in charge was the dumbest possible since he not only is he an incompetent and undecisive leader, having to be tricked out of the Wall so that someone more capable (i.e. Jon) could issue orders and the first chance he gets to back out, he flies away from all the fighting and hides in the kitchen. How did this idiot managed to become commander of King's Landing City Watch?!?!? Do not answer that!!!
The Battle Proceeds
I will name three highlights of the episode that stood out for me.
1. When Jon is forced to abandon command and puts Dolorous Edd in charge of the defense at top of the wall, with several wildlings climbing their way up. Edd orders the defenders to use The Scythe, which is a ginormous anchor attached to a long, thick chain. This superweapon of The Watch swings down like a pendulum, scraping off a swath of ice as it careens toward the invaders. One climber barely has enough time to scream before it he and his buddies are obliterated by it. I will say this, it was a pretty awesome, scene... However I couldn't help but think they pulled this out of their arse, since I don't recall they ever mentioning such thing O_o
2. A battle scene would have being meaningless if not more people we know died. However, despite what the previous scene might led you to believe that Sam would become deadmeat he actually survives the assault. Unfortunately the same can't be said of Pyp (who is killed by Ygritte with a arrow through his neck) and Grenn (who sacrifices himself to kill an giant). Oddly both characters survive in the books, and in fact its another character who dies in Grenn's place, its really sad to see both of them die though, but more in Pyp's case than Grenn. The latter got the best scene by far in the episode, when the Giant is charging their direction and he remains in place reciting the Watch's vow along with other rangers. They died holding the line. There can be a no more glorious death...
3. Ygritte manages to confront Jon during the fight and has him dead on her aim.However she hesitates long enough for Olly that one boy from the village that survived the Wildling attack, to put an arrow right through her chest. Ignoring the battle that has being taking place all around them Jon rushes to her side with her telling him never have left the cave. We'll go back there, Jon says. You know nothing, Jon Snow, she says, and dies.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA YGRBITCH IS DEAD HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
I'd be lying if I said that her death is an absolute crushing downer though, since its no secret that I disliked Ygritte for the longest time. She has to be one of the most overrated characters in this series in my opinion. I'd say I would feel pretty indifferent to her death before because was barely in this season at all having a handful of appearances and lines in 8 episodes , but since she killed Pyp off and the way she died was pretty karmic: shot down by the boy whose father she killed too. Bout time karma got by someone here :v
So, the Rangers managed to defeat the invaders and put off the invasion in the top of the Wall, while taking Tormund's prisioner. In the following morning, Jon contemplates that the Night Watch may had won the battle, but not the war just yet, as they had barely survived the first assault and can't simply keep doing this sh*t for long, as there are thousand more Wildlings out there ready to attack in the following night. He reasons that if Mance Ryder, the army would scatter since he is the only thing keeping them together.
Wut. This is such underwhelming ending for an episode 9 in Game of Thrones. I mean, each episode 9 in previous seasons ended with something shocking or certain that will change everything as we know such as Ned Stark's death, the Lannisters victory in Blackwater Bay and the Red Wedding, while this episode ends basically on a uncertainty... We don't know if Jon will be able to kill Mance Ryder or not, or if he will even get out alive or if the Watch will stand. I noticed that we would get an abrupt ending when I realized we are closing the running time and we possibly wouldn't get to see what we wanted to see...
NITPICK: My point from last episode's review still stands? How in the f*ck did the land beyond the wall can house so many wildlings? And more importantly, how the hell did Bran and his friends managed to sleep through them?
All in all it was a solid episode hampered by a lame ass first 20 minutes and an weak ending. All battle scenes were great (even with that one Avengers shot panning all over the fight), it was great to see almost every named character do something awesome (except that vermin Slynt), and yeah I was pleased enough there were Giants riding Mammoths like I wanted to... However, compared with other climatic episodes in the series, this has to be the weakest of them. Not a bad episode on its own right, but I figure this was not the climatic episode of the season. The promo indicates the season finale will be since we will get closure on Jon, Dany, Bran, Arya and Tyrion's storylines.
Thank you guys for reading it I hope you enjoyed it. Prepare yourselves for tomorrow will be the season's finale "The Children". See you guys there :D
Oh sorry you were expecting a cohesive opening? Well I expected something less brutal than what I got. I am still at shock at what happened with today's episode and I am having a hard time recaping/reviewing the other things that happened besides the ending. This pic above is pretty much my default expression as I write this review and I barely got any sleep without seeing that image popping up everytime I close my eyes.
But f*ck it lets get this sh*t going...
At the Night's Watch
South of Castle Black, Moletown is attacked by Tormund's wildling band that absolutely wrecks the place in a effort to draw out more Rangers and thin their numbers. Jon and his friends are arguing they should be defending the villages being attacked while Sam is absolutely mortified that he left Gilly and little Sam there to be killed, though his friends assure him that she survived much worse things than these and she will certainly make through that too (true enough, when the Wildlings attack Ygritte finds her but decides to spare both her and her son).
This is something I forgot to address in my reviews... Mance Ryder has an host of 100.000 men, ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND! This is a bigger number than the Lannisters and Tyrells forces combined! It mind-boggingly that the territory between the Lands of Always Winter and the Wall is big enough to contain such ridiculously vast number. The Night's Watch is surely f*cked with an iron rod since they have barely 100 men and enemies surrounding them from both sides. Our heroes know that they are going to certain death and the only thing they ask is that their corpses are burned so that they don't rise as Wights.
In the North
Ramsay Snow dresses Theon in his old armor so that he can arrange the peace terms with the Ironborn occupying Moat Caillin. Theon tries to reason with them, though he is having problems balancing the Reek persona with his old self. The Ironborn commander is still stubborn to keep holding the fort despite his men being besieged from all sides and running out of provisions fast, this changes when his men say "f*ck that noise" and throw an ax in his head. Though Theon assures them that no harm will come to them if they surrender, we are soon treated to the Ironmen corpses flayed and tortured since they feel to Ramsay's trap. With Moat Caillin finally taken, the Boltons are able to reunify their forces and now march to Winterfell and take their place as Wardens of the North.
Heh, I knew these guys were dead meat the second Theon said the Boltons would reward them as he rewarded him. The funny part is that the leader got off an easy death compared to the rest of his men who turned on him and surrendered. Also Ramsay is acknowledged as Roose's legitimate heir and given the Bolton surname just as he wanted for so long, which would have being a heartwarming moment if both characters were not such despicable monsters. Meh, I am still calling him Snow out of spite...
I love how Roose mentions that there has being no word on Locke since he left to hunt Bran and Rickon down and points out he might be dead, yet he then dismiss it, saying he must had succeded in his mission anyway despite no confirmation. I mean, Roose was pretty worried that if the other lords discovered they were still alive, it would have being a matter of time before they come to rally under the Starks' cause. I think that now the way to the North is ensured and Winterfell is his now, he has nothing to worry anymore, but I would hold my breath if I was him...
I am just going to this out of the way before we move on to the big incident that happens with Daenerys and Jorah. There is an obvious build up for a romance between Missandei and Grey Worm and there are two problems I have with them: A. he is a freaking eunuch, which may be pretty difficult to work a romantic relationship around and B. they are such minor, peripheral characters I can't really feel any investiment in their relationship when alpha couples end up so messed up (like we seen with Shae/Tyrion).
Then this part of the episode goes to sh*t when a message is delivered to Barristan the Bold, displaying the Hand of the King from Westeros, which turns out to be the pardon that Jorah received for his work as an spy for Varys (which may have being that letter forged by Tywin in "The First of His Name"). He is called upon Daenerys' throne room to confront her and when he is forced to admit the truth, she comes just short of breathing fire on him (euphemism). Despite he pleading that he loved her , she has absolutely none of it and orders Jorah to leave Meereen at once before breaking dawn or she will have him executed.
Goddamn, Dany... This man may had started out working for your enemy, but he switched teams out of love. He offered advice and counsel, killed for you, tries to reason with you and you decide to tell him to f*ck off? That was a very sh*tty thing to do, but ultimately not without an understandable reason on Dany's part. Though I could argue it would have being not a smart decision to exile him, since he is one of her most loyal and trusted advisors, it has being made repeatedly clear she dimissess advices given by from them and does what as she wills. Ultimately from a personal standpoint, really sh**ty thing to do, Dany. You know that you going to need every loyal subject you can get, but she keeps making one terrible decision after the other...
In the Eyrie
Littlefinger is brought before the Vale lords to be questioned about Lysa's death, with them being right to suspect something is fishy about him. Sansa is called to give her testimony, though to the rest of the council, she is believed to be Baelish's niece Alayne. She quickly reveals the truth about her identity as an Stark and how Littlefinger managed to get her the hell out of King's Landing after Joffrey's death and the last minute saying that Lysa killed herself after Petyr kissed Sansa in the cheek (when that was soooooooooo not the case at all)
I really liked that scene because for a second there, I believed she was about to split the beans and tell absolutely f*cking everything Petyr worked for and she held him right there by the balls. Sansa is an character that ever since the Season 1 finale, she has being in absolute deep sh*t and whenever things looked like they might turn for the better, fate pulls the yank chain and make her life suck still. The Vale Lords claim that they were honorable and they knew her father well, but they are complete strangers and as far as she knows, they would sell her out to Cersei if the opportunity presented itself. Having only Littlefinger to rely on, for once, she is taking a proactive stance and decides to play by Petyr's game and screw around with him (not in that sense, thankfully enough) and even going as changing her outfit to something more... flattering, to represent her turn around as a character.
And we close the Eyrie with Arya and the Hound reaching the Bloody Gate, ready to ransom the poor girl to her aunt... Unfortunately Lysa had died three days ago, which made their entire journey from the start of the season pointless. Arya realized the dramatic irony of this being the second time the person the Hound wants to ransom her to died right before their arrival and/or the fact that her situation (as far as she knows) has gotten a lot worse again (with the wound likely being infected and her protector therefore being in serious danger). I felt more awkward than anything, since this was not the reaction I expected, but since this child had her innocence destroyed inch by inch with every season, I should have known better now.
At King's Landing
After having a very awkward and strange conversation about an long-dead relative obsessed with killing beetles, Tyrion is called upon to witness his trial by combat between Prince Oberyn Martell and Ser Gregor Clegane. This long waited scene delivers in every aspect, such as being faithful to the source material, well-shot and showcasing awesome displays of action.
Firstly lets look at how Gregor did. Despite being toyed around with and ultimately skewered and stabbed multiple times by Oberyn's spear, Gregor was a f*cking tank throughout the fight, hurling blow after blow at his opponent and tossing him around like a rag doll whenever he got his hands on him. While Oberyn was certainly faster and more skilled, Gregor's strength was nearly enough to give him the edge. And of course there's what happened when Oberyn let his guard down after winning the fight....
Secondly Oberyn. Put simply, Oberyn not just won, but DOMINATED the fight against the most feared knight in Westeros, while giving him a speech that could make Inigo Montoya blush. After starting the fight with an almost polite introduction to his opponent, he calmly reminds Gregor of how he raped his sister, murdered her, then killed her children, and as the fight goes on, and as he effortlessly avoids Gregor's blows, using his spear to tear away at Gregor's armour, he keeps repeating "You raped her, you murdered her, you killed her children", at first arrogant but growing increasingly enraged as the fight goes on and he wears Gregor down. Then, after unbalancing Gregor, he rounds on him one last time and furiously roars "YOU RAPED HER! YOU MURDERED HER!" as Gregor lunges at him, only for Oberyn to dodge, rip his spear down the back of Gregor's calf sending him to his knees, and then charge the prone giant with his spear as he screams "YOU KILLED HER CHILDREN!", impaling him through the stomach to the arena floor.
Oberyn then circles Gregor's panting, defeated body, demanding he confess his crime and demanding he reveal it was Tywin who ordered this, standing right above his body as he demands that he say it.... only for Gregor to effortlessly bat the legs from under him with a swipe of his forearm, easily drag Oberyn on top of him so he can smash his face in with a single punch. Then as Oberyn lies beside him coughing up blood and teeth, Gregor just leaps up on top of him, shove his thumbs into Oberyn's eye sockets, and as he slowly crushes the man's skull as he shrieks in agony, Gregor triumphantly growls
Gregor: Elia Martell. I killed her children. THEN I RAPED HER. THEN I SMASHED HER HEAD IN LIKE THIS!!!
Gregor then slams Oberyn's head against the ground so hard it literally explodes in a shower of blood, bone, and brain, before finally succumbing to his wounds and passing out next to him.
I can say with no exageration, this was the most nightmarish and gruesome death I've seen in this series so far - even with such dubious standards Joffrey's poisoning and Talisa's stabbing don't come nowhere near close. Safe to say, I already knew Oberyn was going to die since I had previous knowledge from the source material, but for all my preparation I was still horrified to my f*cking core due to how graphic it was, how exceedingly agonizing it looked having his eyes being gouged before his skull exploding like an watermelon. What made his death even more heartbreaking was due to Oberyn being such likable and sympathetic character that I pretty much enjoyed each of his scenes from the start of the season until now.
The only pleasure I can possibly get with Oberyn's death is that now any chance of the Lannisters forming an alliance with Dorne is ruined. Do you really think Tywin, that the Dornish will allow this without wanting to retaliate when their prince's brains are splattered over the ground? I hope you enjoy your brother's execution, Cersei, cause you ain't going to see your daughter Myrcella anytime soon, since she is pretty much a hostage (you know the same way Sansa was yours for many years). Oh and Clegane confessed he raped Elia Martell and killed her children in front of an audience to hear, including at least a few Dornish. DO YOU ALL HONESTLY THINK YOU CAN KEEP THAT SH*T UNDER THE WRAPS NOW?!?!?! Gods...
To say this episode was good or bad is kinda of an moot point, This is an WTF-level episode the same way as the Rains of Castamere. I will say that, I would sooner watch the Red Wedding over and over again. than Oberyn's death once more. I know that lasted like 20 seconds, but those 20 seconds were more personally agonizing than seeing all the heroic faction of the war getting betrayed and butchered. I might be overreacting right now, I will give this, the duel between the Oberyn and Gregor was sure awesome and delivered in all I expected, I just can't stomach watching the fight's end once again.
Phew... Next episode will be "The Watchers on the Wall" and be prepared, that will be the climatic episode of the season!
Welcome my friends to another review of the fourth season of Game of Thrones! Today we look at the seventh episode entitled "Mockingbird" where Tyrion enlists an unlikely ally. Daario entreats Dany to allow him to do what he does best. Jon’s warnings about the Wall’s vulnerability fall on deaf ears. Brienne follows a new lead on the road with Pod.
At King's Landing
The episode opens with Jaime chastising Tyrion over throwing his life away for choosing trial by combat. Tyrion is content enough of ruining daddy's plans (since Tywin obviously rigged the trial to make Jaime abandon the Kingsguard and take his place as Tywin's heir in exchange for Tyrion's life being spared), but he realizes he didn't think all the way through as Jaime is in no shape to champion for him - not even a seasoned swordsman can re-learn all his skills in a just few days. Too bad too, cause there are few mofos with the biggest, roundest, hairiest balls left that would face Cersei's champion...
Gregor Clegane aka the Mountain , Tywin Lannister's psychotic right-hand man and all around complete monster in every sense of the word. In case you have forgotten him, he appeared in season 1 beheading his own horse for loosing a joust against Loras and he is introduced here killing off some prisoners just for the kicks. This is curiously the second time the character had being recast with the first actor (Conan Stevens) leaving to work in the Hobbit and the second (Ian Whyte) not being as well received as the first one. This new dude is an absolute beast, almost as facking brutal as the first one was. Though admittedly, he does look notably different not from the other actors, but he is 20 younger than Rory McCann, who plays Gregor's younger brother Sandor, I have to say, its pretty balsy of Cersei to walk up over the gore without flinching as speak eye to eye to this implacable murder-rape-torture machine and remains cold as ice.
To make things worse for Tyrion, Bronn was bought off by Cersei who offered him the hand of a noblewoman as well his own lands and titles instead of championing her little brother. He claims he doesn't have much incentive to fight for Tyrion against a monster such as Gregor (but he admits that he could take him own all things considered) Despite being left to his own fate, Tyrion doesn't hold much grudge against Bronn and both end their partnership on surprisingly amicable terms which is both sad and heartwarming at the same time.
When all hopes seem lost, Prince Oberyn visits Tyrion in his cell and recounts the moment that he met him as a child. Oberyn and his sister Elia were expecting nothing short of a hideous monster due to the tall tales they'd heard travelling to Casterly Rock. But when Cersei unveiled him, neither could contain their disappointment, it was just a small child in their eyes. Tyrion looks like he is ready to burst into tears as they both share this touching moment and then Oberyn declares he will have justice one way or another and pledges himself as Tyrion's champion to the latter's astonishment.
In the Riverlands
The Hound and Arya pass by an wounded peasant. They are suddenly attacked by those two psychos that were imprisoned with Jaqen H'ghar in season two, Rorge and Biter - please note that I only know these names because that is how they were listed according to the books and are such insignificant characters that if it was not for the flashback recap that featured them in the beginning of the episode, I would have no idea who they were. And true to their insignificant manner they are unceremoniously killed off by Arya and the Hound, but not before Rorge lets them know that Joffrey is dead, there is a bounty over Sandor's head over his glorious "f*ck the king".
Later on, Sandor is trying to threat his wounds, Arya offers to burn to prevent festering but, unsurprisingly he violently refuses. He claims its all her fault now he became an walking silver bag and starts to reminisces how he got his burned scars - his older brother Gregor held his face against the fire for daring to play with one of his toys when both of them were kids and their dad took Gregor's side, saying it was his bed that caught fire to protect his elder son. After two consecutive appearances of being a dick, Sandor finally opens up emotionally to both Arya and the audience, moving the former so much that she agrees to clean his wounds, seeing that both of them are outcasts and alone one way or the other.
At the Kingsroad
Brienne and Podrick are enjoying a hot meal. And surprisingly, their serving boy and cook is Hot Pie, how have you being you little fatty: At the first opportunity he starts going on and on and on about the proper making of his namesake. And even further on a variety of other topics, much to the duo's annoyance, and eventually gets out of Brienne that she's looking for Sansa Stark. Hot Pie freezes up at that, says that the Starks are known traitors and takes his leave.
As they leave, Brienne senses that Pod wants to say something. When he does, it's to impart that maybe they shouldn't advertise their mission like that, given all the Lannister swords on Sansa's trail. Hot Pie comes out and tells Brienne that she seems trustworthy, and tells her about Arya (after all, she is believed to have being dead by the Lannisters ever since Ned's execution) Later, on the road, Brienne and Podrick discuss the next move. Tyrion had made Pod memorize the vast spider web that is Westerosi' genealogy, so he knows that the Arryns are her last living kin.
Oooh the plot thickens!!! Unknown to both that both girls are alive, how delightful it must be that Brienne is on Arya's trail too. I’m… not actually upset by this, because even though Sansa probably could use more rescuing as a general thing than Arya does, the idea of Brienne and Arya getting together and sharing Warrior Women Tips with each other is totally all kinds of awesome as far as I am concerned.
Dany finds Daario in her quarters to her dismay, having entered through the windows. He asks a favor of her, to pursue his most favored pleasures that had being denied to him which is war and women. He feels that his men are being underused with being relegated to job the of city guards, and anyone can tell he has eyes for no women, but Daenerys herself. Seeing that the primary reason she had let the dude join her army was to boink him silly, Dany lets Daario to let him do what he does best to strip at her command. You can tell what happens next now, don't you?
Jorah runs into a hastily dressed Daario just outside their Queen's apartments. The swaggering merc just has to remark on Daenerys' newly improved mood. It's safe to say Mormont puts two and two together and definitely doesn't approve. He marches into Daenerys' war room and demands to know how she could have faith in a man who killed his two former commanders merely for philosophical differences. "I could never have faith in a man like Daario," she replies, and tells him that her paramour and the Second Sons are going to retake Yunkai. Jorah is less than thrilled with this, pointing out that the Wise Masters will just bide their time after her victory and undo her work again. She cheerfully tells him her solution to that hitch is to have the degenerates exterminated and begins to reel off all the reasons why they have had it coming while he argues that this is comparable to how they would then be acting, but doesn't get anywhere until he points out that he was once a slaver himself. If Ned Stark had treated him as she intends to treat Yunkai, then he wouldn't be here today. This strikes a chord with her. She decides to then send Hizdahr zo Loraq as her ambassador. The Yunkish have a choice: live in her new world, or die in their old one. But an offer of clemency will at least be made, much to Jorah's relief and happiness that his counsel is being taken to heart. I can't even remember when it was the last time she had heeded to one of her advisor's councils, but well, this was the first time in a long while I tell you that.
In Castle Black
Jon and his friends return after the successful assault at Caster's Keep. Ser Alliser Thorne and his flunky Janos Slynt are quite disappointed to see our hero returned safe and sound from his mission. Later, Jon points out to the Night's Watch leaders that the Wall's defenses are still very weak and they need to do seal the tunnel, unfortunately Thorne is an asshole and sends Jon and Sam as lookouts as punishments until the next full moon.
I have absolutely no opinion on this part of the episode, its probably the weakest link so far because had you removed it, nothing would have really changed. It was just here to assure that Jon returned to the Night's Watch without a problem.
Well, Melisandre is taking a bath while speaking with Selyse Baratheon is watching it and they were speaking some stuff I couldn't pay much attention cause the Red Woman was naked the whole time and while indeed, she is certainly gorgeous, she unfortunately one of the creepiest characters in the series - and that is saying a lot. I think this scene was only critical in stating that they need to take Princess Shireen with them to the wall, but you can tell that scene was only there to tip over the fanservice balance in regards to Meereen's scene...
At the Eyrie
Sansa is brought before a snowy garden where she builds a snow castle of Winterfell, reminding her of her home in the North that she can't go back. All seemed fine until her weird kid she has for a cousin, Robin Arryn, comes in and asks where the Moon Door is. He knocks over the main tower and when Sansa gets upset with him, he throws a temper tantrum and ruins her replica. At this point, after three seasons of taking sh*t from everyone, Sansa slaps the little brat in the face - an act that surprised me and made me cheer, cause Robin reeeeeeeeaally deserves it (I mean, Jaysus, he speaks so casually about throwing people off from the Moon Door like his mom seems to do in regular basis). Littlefinger watches the whole thing and assures Sansa that he will deal with Robin and Lysa. He reveals that he had murdered Joffrey to avenge Cat's death and reminisces how in a perfect worl, she would have being his daughter slightly humanising him for a moments. Before he reminds why everyone hates him.
To make matters worse, Lysa sees everythig and later on, Sansa is summoned to the central chamber with her aunt waiting for her, and the Moon Door is laid wide open. She amiably tells Sansa to come over to the Door. She tells Sansa that she knows what she did. Sansa begins to apologize for hitting Robin, when Lysa cuts her off. You kissed him, she says and holds Sansa over the nearly two-hundred metre drop, raving about how she saw it and how Petyr's hers, and of how her father, her husband, her sister; everyone in her family that stood between them are now all dead! Littlefinger saves the day (this is something I never thought I would say) He comes in the nick of time and tries to talk the crazy Tully down, Lysa screams of the sacrifices she has made for him and how Sansa will never love him. Baelish swears by all the gods to send his niece away but first she must let her go. Finally, Lysa releases Sansa and breaks into anguished tears of hurt and betrayal.
And then he shoves that bitch down the Moon Door.
Mockingbird was decent enough, not much else happens except build up, but I believe this probably served as an breather episode, where things need to take a time out just so that we can prepare for the climax. We have after all only three episodes left in the season, I think we can pretty much deal with that.
So thank you guys for reading it. Next episode will be the "The Mountain and the Viper" where we will see the long waited fight between Oberyn Martell and Gregor Clegane...